Winter has arrived and Mother Nature is preparing – nothing new is growing, leaves have been shed, grass has stopped growing and everything is closing down in preparation.
But this is more than just preparation for the coming cold, this is preparation for the Spring that will follow.
For plants and animals alike, this ‘hibernating’ phase will protect them from harsh weather and give them the time they need to rejuvenate and be well prepared to bloom again and create new life when the warmer weather returns in a few months.
Us business owners need to do the same – no, not snuggle under the duvet until March – we need to think of the last couple of months of our business year as the equivalent of winter and we need to plan for the year ahead.
Even if your fiscal year ends in a different month, like March, it feels natural to reflect and plan as we approach the end of our calendar year.
Now, this isn’t some airy-fairy thing that you simply don’t have time for or that you shouldn’t care about. This is important and will have a major impact on how successful your business is next year and how successful it will be in the years after that.
Of course, you shouldn’t stop running your business. This quarter is as much about revenue generation as the other three.
I’m not talking about the coal-face, front-line, hitting your targets stuff. I’m talking about the core, fundamental part of your business – the part of your business that won’t have an impact on the coming weeks and months but that will have an impact on how your business grows through next year and beyond.
This raises the first challenge that so many business owners struggle with – how to find the time to step away from your business to reflect and plan.
One thing I can guarantee, free time to do this will not simply present itself. Most of us are too busy for this to happen and spare time in diaries always gets filled.
As soon as you can – today if possible – look at your diary or calendar and book a couple of hours. This is just the start though.
This is the time to plan to plan, to allocate enough time to define the next big destination or, if you have already defined your next strategic destination, to confirm that it is still the right destination to be aiming for. And to assess how the year has gone and the course that you’re actually on. (Which in turn could impact the destination you have set.)
Read my post, plan to plan because in it I set out how to roughly estimate how much time you need in order to plan for next year.
Also, check out my post Review Your Year – 3 Key Questions You Should Ask which will help you review how the year has gone.
Next year won’t be better than this by accident. If you want it to be, then please set aside the time now to make it a better year if not the best year yet.
It’s never too early to start planning how you are going to strategically grow your business. If you don’t know how to do this then check out my course, Small Business Strategy for Success, in which I’ll show you, step-by-step, how to create the right strategy to grow your business with certainty and control instead of with hope and luck.